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Find a better place to relocate homeless

My View: Some Pearl residents just as vulnerable as R2DT campers


This is an email sent to City Commissioner Amanda Fritz:

Thank you for taking time out of your schedule to visit Station Place Tower Apartments (Northwest Ninth Avenue near Lovejoy).

While you did an admirable job of advocating for Right 2 Dream Too (although I do not believe it is in their best interest to live under the Lovejoy Ramp with the pigeon poop, no sunlight and exhaust fumes), it would have been nice had you shown some empathy and understanding toward those of us residing here. Many of the statements you made regarding the folks at Right 2 Dream Too apply to those of us living here.

Most of the residents at Station Place Tower Apartments live on a fixed income that is well below the norm for the area and live on a month-to-month basis. Many have physical and mental disabilities that make living a challenge and safety concerns a priority.

We have chosen to live here because of the environment (safe neighborhood, easy accessibility to public transportation and the necessities of life, i.e. grocery stores, post office, etc.) and its walkability (sidewalks, lack of hills, parks) rating. Additionally, we waited months (years for some) for a vacant apartment in order to move in here.

Therefore, when you tell us that Right 2 Dream Too has no options, those who live here also fall into that category. We don’t have the financial resources to move, we are physically unable to pack and move our belongings, it would be emotionally hard to leave a community we are vested in, and most apartments in our price range have waiting lists.

Many comments were made that Right 2 Dream Too residents were good neighbors and that we should be good neighbors. Do you think we are not good neighbors? Being apprehensive because you are moving a homeless camp into our neighborhood does not make us bad neighbors. I notice you are not moving them into your neighborhood (and what would the reaction of your neighbors be if you did?).

We, too, are good neighbors. Many of us volunteer for various groups throughout the city, we take care of our neighborhood by picking up trash and watching out for others, and we take care of fellow residents who need help.

You also commented that we do not get to choose our neighbors. You are right! We do, however, get to choose our neighborhoods. And while we knew there were vacant lots that would be developed either into some sort of commercial enterprise or multifamily residences, not one of us anticipated a homeless camp of transient people.

According to what you stated, my understanding is that it is not the same 100 people each night and that there are some who come to spend the day. You also stated that they police themselves and would help police the other homeless people in the neighborhood because they know one another.

I do not understand how that would work because the police are not necessarily effective in dealing with the small number we have sleeping in that area, using drugs and alcohol. Because this is a transient population, I also do not understand how we are to know who is part of their community and who is just hanging out. None of that eases our apprehension.

Finally, it is my naive understanding that our elected officials are here to work for all of us, not just a small sector of our society. Decisions should be made after gathering as much information as possible and based on the greater good.

You admitted you did not check into our neighborhood before selecting this site. You also stated it is the only site available (which seems like an absurdity, considering the size of Portland).

So, since you are advocating for Right 2 Dream Too, who do we have in a position of authority or power to advocate for us as we, too, are a fragile, vulnerable group of seniors?

Barbara Weerth moved to Portland four years ago to be closer to family and chose her new home because it offered all the things she desired to live a productive, safe, secure and independent life